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Income and assets assessment for aged care home costs

You need to have a formal income and assets assessment from the Department of Human Services (DHS) or the Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA) and should arrange this as soon as possible as this process takes time. You can ask for an income and assets assessment before you start receiving care.

The income and assets assessment is used to determine if you are eligible to receive assistance with your accommodation costs from the Australian Government and if you need to pay a means-tested care fee.

Do you need to complete an income and assets assessment form?

If you are paid a pension that is means tested, the DHS or DVA will already hold some of your income and asset details and you will only need to complete some parts of the form.

If you are not paid a pension that is means tested you will need to complete the whole form. Examples of pensions that are not means tested include:

  • Blind Pension
  • War Widow(er)'s Pension
  • Veterans' Disability or Allowance.

  • Arrange for a formal income and assets assessment by the Department of Human Services (DHS) or the Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA).

    To ask for an assessment complete the: Permanent Residential Aged Care - Request for A Combined Assets and Income Assessment (SA457) form.

    For information on the assessment process, call:

    • DHS on 1800 227 475 or visit the DHS website.
    • DVA on 133 254, or if you live in regional Australia call on Freecall™ 1800 555 254.


    If you do not complete an income and assets assessment, you will not be eligible for Australian Government assistance towards your accommodation costs. You can also be asked to pay the full cost of your care until you reach the annual and lifetime caps.

    Assessed income

    Income, for the purposes of aged care, is not the same as taxable income. Your assessed income can include but is not limited to:

    • income support payments from the Australian Government such as the age pension, a service pension or an income support supplement
    • deemed (not actual) income from financial investments
    • net income from rental property
    • war widow or widower pensions and some disability pensions (for more information refer to the 'Veterans' section below)
    • net income from businesses, including farms
    • superannuation and overseas pensions, and income from income stream products such as annuities and allocated pensions
    • family trust distributions or dividends from private company shares
    • deemed income from excess gifting.

    If you moved into an aged care home after 1 January 2016 and are renting out your former family home, the rental income will be included and will count in the same way as any other type of income.

    Before 1 January 2016, rental income was exempt in your assessed income if you paid for some or all of your accommodation costs by rental-style payments. If you moved into an aged care home before 1 January 2016, this applies unless you move back into an aged care home (or a different aged care home) after having left for more than 28 days for reasons other than leave. For more information see the removal of the rental income exemption.

    From 1 January 2017 the rental income exemption ceases to apply to the age pension.

    Deemed income

    ‘Deeming’ is a term used in assessing your income. It means that bank accounts and other financial investments are deemed to be earning a certain rate of income, no matter what income they are actually earning.

    Financial investments deemed to be earning income include but are not limited to:

    • bank, building society and credit union accounts
    • cash
    • term deposits
    • cheque accounts
    • friendly society bonds
    • managed investments
    • listed shares and securities
    • loans and debentures
    • shares in unlisted public companies
    • gold and other bullion
    • account-based income streams from 1 January 2015.

    Existing income streams in accounts held by (income support recipients as at 31 December 2014) are assessed under the income stream rules that applied before 1 January 2015. If the account holder chooses to change products, or no longer receives an income support payment, the new rules will apply to them.

    Financial investments not deemed to be earning income include:

    • your home or its contents
    • cars, boats and caravans
    • antiques, stamp or coin collections
    • standard life insurance policies
    • holiday homes, farms or other real estate
    • accommodation bonds, refundable deposits.

    Under the deeming rules, the actual income earned on an asset is not counted. This means that if you earn more than the deemed income, the extra amount is ignored.

    Current deeming rates are provided on the Schedule of Residential Fees and Charges.

    Veterans

    Generally, pensions from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs will be counted as assessable income for aged care purposes. However, if you or your partner receive a Department of Veterans’ Affairs disability pension or war widow’s or widower’s pension and the person receiving this pension also has qualifying service, these pensions will not be counted as assessable income. You will still need to fill out the Permanent Residential Aged Care – Request for a Combined Assets and Income Assessment (SA457) form for your combined income and assets assessment.

    Please contact the Department of Veterans’ Affairs on 133 254 or 1800 555 245 (for regional callers) for further details.

    Assessed assets

    All your assets are considered but special rules apply in some situations.

    Financial investments include but are not limited to:

    • bank, building society and credit union accounts
    • cash
    • term deposits
    • cheque accounts
    • friendly society bonds
    • managed investments
    • listed shares and securities
    • loans and debentures
    • shares in unlisted public companies
    • gold and other bullion.

    Other assets include but are not limited to:

    • household contents and personal effects (these are typically valued at $10,000)
    • foreign assets including investments, business interests and real estate
    • investment property
    • special collections such as stamps, art works or antiques
    • superannuation balances
    • private trusts, family trusts and private companies
    • refundable deposits paid for accommodation in an aged care home.

    If you have not already moved into an aged care home, your income and assets assessment is based on your circumstances at the time the assessment is done. If your circumstances change on the date you moved into the aged care home, the assessment will need to be updated.

    If you have moved into an aged care home before your income and assets assessment is finalised, it is based on your circumstances on the date you moved into the home.

    The value of your former family home

    Part of the value of your former family home may be counted in your assets assessment, but not in all cases. It won’t be counted as an asset if:

    • your partner or dependent children is living there, or
    • a carer eligible for an Australian Government income support payment has been living there for at least two years, or
    • a close relative who is eligible for an Australian Government income support payment has been living there for at least five years.

    The full value of your former family home will not be included in the assessment of your assets if you keep it. Instead a capped amount of $165,271.20 (as at 20 March 2018) is included or the net market value of your house, if lower.

    Where the former family home is included as an asset, and the aged care home resident is part of a couple, each member of the couple is seen as equally owning half of the net market value of the home. The cap is applied to each half. Either the cap or the net value of each member’s part of the home will be included as an asset – whichever is lower.

    If you are part of a couple, half the combined income and assets of both members of the couple are included in the assessment. For aged care purposes, you are considered to be a member of a couple if you are permanently living apart for health-related reasons.

    Gifted assets

    If you have gifted away assets over $10,000 in a single year or $30,000 in total over a rolling period of five years, these amounts will be included in your assets assessment.

    If you entered residential aged care before 1 July 2014, your assessment is based on the previous income and assets assessment, unless you move aged care home providers and choose to opt into the post-1 July 2014 fee arrangements.

    Next

    Next

    Contact the Department of Human Services for a financial assessment.

    Last reviewed: 19 March, 2018.